The central government team that visited the Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur on Wednesday claimed that the deaths of 63 children at the hospital were not caused by an oxygen supply shortage, The Hindu reported. “In fact, the number of deaths [at the hospital] have reduced compared to last year,’’ Dr Harish Chellani, who was part of the team, said.

The three-member team visited the hospital on Saturday. Chellani said the team had submitted an interim report to the Women and Child Welfare Ministry on Monday, and that a final report would be submitted on Wednesday.

“As per information and data provided to us, it does not look like the deaths have all happened due to shortage of oxygen,” Chellani said. “As per the records, we have fewer deaths when compared to the figures at the same time last year.” The team comprised experts from the Lady Hardinge Medical College, Safdarjung Hospital and from the Ministry’s Immunisation Department.

The Indian Medical Association has also sent its own team to investigate the matter and submit a report by Thursday.

Deaths due to lack of oxygen a heinous crime: Siddharth Nath Singh

Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh on Wednesday said that any deaths due to a shortage of oxygen were a “heinous crime”, reported PTI. “Any laxity on this front is also a crime,” he told reporters.

He said a team led by the state’s chief secretary was investigating the deaths. “All issues that have come up about the exchange of money, demand of commission for not clearing the payment to oxygen suppliers etc are also being investigated,” he said, adding that BRD Medical College Principal Rajiv Mishra was suspended based on a primary inquiry into the matter.